INTRODUCTION: Despite recent advances in treatment, lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States. Therefore, there is a strong need for developing clinical trials in lung cancer therapeutics. Only a small fraction of patients with lung cancer are enrolled in clinical trials. It is critical to understand the barriers to participation in lung cancer clinical trials. METHODS: We reviewed the outpatient charts of consecutive patients with non-small cell lung cancer who presented for initial evaluation or consultation for further therapeutic management to the thoracic medical oncology group at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2006. Available and appropriate clinical trials specific to the histologic subtype and stage were presented to the patients routinely, and reasons for nonenrollment were documented. We collected information on age, gender, ethnicity, histology, stage, performance status (PS), and insurance status. RESULTS: During the study period, 263 patients with non-small cell lung cancer were identified for the study. After initial screening, 183 patients had clinical trials available, which were appropriate for their diagnosis and stage of disease. One hundred one patients (55.2%) were ineligible for enrollment in a clinical trial. The most common reasons for ineligibility were poor PS (18%), need for emergent radiation (12%), lack of adequate staging information (6%), and comorbid conditions (4.9%). Despite being eligible for participation, 57 patients (31.1%) did not enroll in a clinical trial. Patient refusal accounted for 8.7%. The problems with transportation and distance from the medical center were reasons given for nonparticipation by 7.1%. Eleven patients (6%) did not participate in a clinical trial because of insurance issues. Ultimately, 25 patients (13.7%) were enrolled in a clinical trial. CONCLUSIONS: Poor PS, the need for emergent radiation, and patient refusal were the most common reasons for not participating in a clinical trial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-102
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Thoracic Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Accrual
  • Barriers
  • Clinical trial
  • Lung cancer
  • Patients


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